Okay, so this is probably mostly opinion, but maybe not. In the drudge work I've self-assigned I'm finding lots of users are tagging their geolocation related questions as (lucene search utility). While this is probably due to haste, if we allow the auto-suggest to present a compass-geolocation option and remove the generic compass term, we may increase the validity of the tag and improve accuracy. Is it reasonable and appropriate to reassign those tags from the questions, or perhaps request a compass-geolocation tag get created and associate the location tag to those questions? FWIW, the questions are all relating to implementations of geolocation data for various mobile platforms, so there really does seem to be a niche for that tag, but the compass word is getting so overloaded that it's really impacting the usefulness of the tag meta data.

Since I constructed the above paragraph may by confusing, the two questions are:

Can we (someone) reassign tags that no longer reflect the current terminology? (i.e. remove the generic compass and replace with more specific variants of , and .)


If not, can someone create a new tag, then I'll use it to group the questions that are not related to lucene search utility and leave the search questions under the old . This will at least stop watering down the current crop of questions and allow search on the location oriented questions as a distinct group.

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    Sorry given that I don't even know what lucene is, but I do know what a compass on a mobile is. I think you have to give up on saying the compass tag has anything do to with lucene. Common usage wins every day. (You can't expect a tag page to be read by anyone when the meaning of the tag is clearly given by basic English usage) Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 15:06
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    I'm leaning towards three tags: compass-geolocation, compass-lucene and compass-css so that the poster can select the right one. When a tags common verbiage gets watered down it's probably time to make it more readily clear what is intended for this post.
    – OldTroll
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 15:12
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    A benefit of using three specific tags is that everything using just compass will be mistagged by definition, making it easier to clean up.
    – McCannot
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 15:26
  • Is there anyone with sufficient mojo to perform CRUD upon the relevant tags? I think I have the miss-labelled compass-css tags cleared up and I'd be willing to start on the compass-geolocation or whatever tags. Then once that's done, we can shove the compass-lucene tag in place and do something nasty to the compass (general) tag. It's a plan, no?
    – OldTroll
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 15:29
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    @OldTroll - Sometimes it just doesn't work. We have a similar problem for us old guys who used to program in assembly language. Suddenly some people believe assembly has something to do with .NET
    – Bo Persson
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 22:55
  • @Bo Persson: True, but I'm not wanting to co-opt compass for some new technology, but branch and disambiguate the current usage. Clarity, not trendiness is the goal. Programmers would probably select assembly-.net over assembly-x86 or assembly-ppc if that were their interest.
    – OldTroll
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 0:53
  • @OldTroll: Sorry, but I disagree. If I've already tagged my question with [c#] and [.net], [assembly-.net] (in addition to being ugly) is just redundant. Tags like [assembly] do not have to be completely unambiguous. [compass] does in fact have meanings beyond [compass-lucene] and [compass-css], so it still needs to be a valid tag, but not co-opted by some specific technology.
    – user102937
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 15:11
  • @Robert Harvey: I guess I value accuracy more than beauty. Personally if I'm searching for things that are compass/search related and I find that my search is returning 50%+ of geolocation related queries AND then I check the tag descriptions only to discover I'm using the 'correct' search term, then I'm annoyed. I'm not advocating total accuracy via some overly anal editorial process, but currently the compass term is getting used more commonly for non-lucene uses. Which indicates (to me at least) a problem.
    – OldTroll
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 15:21
  • That's fine, but honestly tags that get too specific are a pain in the ass. A small amount of ambiguity is actually a good thing, and [assembly] is a perfect example of that. Remember, you can always combine tags for searches, i.e. [.net] [assembly] and [geolocation] [compass] or even [android] [compass].
    – user102937
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 15:22
  • My concern with the [compass-geolocation] tag is that it seems non-obvious. How would you know to use it as a search term, or that it is the "correct" tag for Android geolocation/compass questions? Both [compass] and [geolocation] seem like more natural tags to me.
    – user102937
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 15:58
  • I'm okay with just using [compass] for traditional compass questions, but if you type compass and get three options it seems like a easy option. If you're thinking compass-css and type compass and select it, then I'm stuck sifting through them again. If the only options are compass-* then you have to look and select.
    – OldTroll
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 16:12
  • I'm coming around to your way of thinking, but I still think [compass-geolocation] is a bit obtuse, and people will still use [compass], unless you synonymize it. Which usage is the most common?
    – user102937
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 16:20
  • Holy moly. Quick count of the "top" fifty returns on a search for [compass] returns only 11 results that are lucene. I'd say compass is drastically misused. I didn't go past the first page of results because I'm lazy (but honest). Still I'd say that's pretty strong indication that lucene may need to be relabelled as [compass-lucene] and [compass] redefined to indicate geolocation and orientation questions. I'm not familiar with synonymization, so I'm not certain how that would help or what it would do.
    – OldTroll
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 16:40
  • Once the [compass-lucene] and [compass-css] questions are all retagged, I can batch-retag the remaining [compass] questions as [compass-geolocation].
    – user102937
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 16:50
  • Can you let me know when the new tag(s) are available? (I didn't see compass-lucene when I looked a few seconds ago)
    – OldTroll
    Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 16:53

1 Answer 1


I think shouldn't be reserved just for the Lucene-based project, honestly. There are indeed programming uses for compasses these days (especially in mobile devices) and to reserve a fairly broad topic for a much more niche product I think is kind of silly.

I'd say to retag all the Lucene stuff as (or perhaps to be consistent with ) and then leave for actual questions having to do with compasses. Then note in the tag wiki for that there is a separate tag for questions having to do with the Lucene-based project. There's already a similar note in the wiki for the Compass CSS project and its related tag.

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    +1. Here's the start of my abandoned answer: They are not morons. Many mobiles devices actually contain a compass, and that tag seems appropriate to these questions, much like a Camera or a Microphone.
    – Kobi
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 14:48
  • Thing is, how many people would use [compass] to mean actual compasses compared to the number of people who'll just toss [compass] on a question about the Lucene or CSS versions?
    – McCannot
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 15:04
  • I agree, but I'm thinking that it's going to take vigilance to keep thing in their correct places since the posters aren't noticing that there is a compass-css (which is mentioned in the compass tag info) for their css questions. Oh well, some things you just can't fix.
    – OldTroll
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 15:05
  • @McCannot hard to say, but when you start typing compass in the tag field and you see compass-lucene or compass-css in there instead, I'd wager most times you'd pick the specific one Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 15:06
  • Really? My impression is that people will often just use the most general-purpose tag they can find, even when it doesn't really mean anything.
    – McCannot
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 15:17
  • @McCannot I have no hard data to back it up but intuitively you'd want to target your question better; but, some things you can't really fix and luckily Stack Exchange sites are collaboratively edited and moderated! Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 15:19
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    Well, why would people use tags like software, problem, help, or error? It's certainly not because they want to target their question better...
    – McCannot
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 15:25
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    @McCannot yes, but in that case they're just using poor tags, not tags that are close to more-highly-targeted tags. If you type in compass and see either lucene-compass or compass-lucene (which the auto-complete system would display), but you still pass up the more specific tag, then you're just doing a poor job and no matter what tags are there will help you Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 15:29
  • This ended up being pretty close to what we did, except that we added compass-geolocation and made compass a synonym for it. Compass is dead, long live compass!
    – OldTroll
    Commented Jul 28, 2011 at 0:04

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